iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Strong relationships between soil and vegetation in reference ecosystems of a riparian Atlantic rainforest in the upper Doce River watershed, southeastern Brazil

Letícia Ramos (1), Daniel Negreiros (1), Bárbara Stephanie Silva Ferreira (1), João Carlos Gomes Figueiredo (2), Dario C Paiva (3), Yumi Oki (1), Wénita De Souza Justino (1), Rubens Manoel Dos Santos (4), Ramiro Aguilar (1-5), Yule Roberta Ferreira Nunes (6), G Wilson Fernandes (1)   

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 16, Issue 4, Pages 226-233 (2023)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor4313-016
Published: Aug 17, 2023 - Copyright © 2023 SISEF

Research Articles

Habitat loss and fragmentation have been impacting ecosystem services essential for human survival. The Brazilian Atlantic rainforest, a biodiversity hotspot, has suffered from historical deforestation and, more recently, from an environmental disaster caused by the Fundão dam collapse that released ore tailings drastically affecting a large territory in the Doce River watershed. This work aims to assess the relationships between soil properties and vegetation in a reference ecosystem to provide guidelines for restoration projects in areas affected by the dam collapse. We conducted phytosociological (vegetation characteristic) and soil quality studies in three distinct natural sites and studied different vegetation strata to better understand plant species composition in reference sites along the impacted Doce River and their potential role in community structuring and functioning. We recorded 140 species, 78 in the tree stratum, and 90 in the sapling stratum. Furthermore, our results highlight the influence of soil on floristic composition in the Atlantic rainforest. Small-scale edaphic variation influenced species composition in both sapling and tree strata. We also identified species of the same genus with strong association with the extremes of the edaphic gradient. Therefore, we highlight that studies in various regions along the Doce River watershed are of utmost importance to evaluate the association between species and soils. The particularities of the species are crucial to the effectiveness of restoration processes since this plant-soil correlation should not be extrapolated even within the same genus. This knowledge is of strategic relevance to provide scientific-based guidance for restoring these environments, aiming at the recovery of biodiversity and ecosystem services.


Dam Breach, Fundão Dam Collapse, Reference Ecosystem, Restoration Ecology, Soil-vegetation Relationships

Authors’ address

Letícia Ramos 0000-0002-7065-3213
Daniel Negreiros 0000-0002-4780-2284
Bárbara Stephanie Silva Ferreira
Yumi Oki 0000-0003-1268-9151
Wénita De Souza Justino 0009-0001-6527-493x
Ramiro Aguilar 0000-0003-4741-2611
G Wilson Fernandes 0000-0003-1559-6049
Ecologia Evolutiva & Biodiversidade, Departamento de Genética, Ecologia e Evolução/ICB, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, 31270-901, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais (Brazil)
João Carlos Gomes Figueiredo 0000-0001-6453-8684
Departamento de Biologia Geral, Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biotecnologia - PPGB, Universidade Estadual de Montes Claros, 39401-089, Montes Claros, Minas Gerais (Brazil)
Dario C Paiva 0000-0002-7697-7702
Department of Biological Sciences, Institute of Environment, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199 (USA)
Rubens Manoel Dos Santos 0000-0002-4075-462x
Departamento de Ciências Florestais, Universidade Federal de Lavras, CP 3037, 37200-000, Lavras, Minas Gerais (Brazil)
Ramiro Aguilar 0000-0003-4741-2611
Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba - CONICET, CC 495, 5000 Córdoba (Argentina)
Yule Roberta Ferreira Nunes 0000-0003-3328-7506
Programa de Pós-Graduação em Botnica Aplicada, Departamento de Biologia Geral, Universidade Estadual de Montes Claros, 39401-089, Montes Claros, Minas Gerais (Brazil)

Corresponding author

G Wilson Fernandes


Ramos L, Negreiros D, Ferreira BSS, Figueiredo JCG, Paiva DC, Oki Y, Justino WDS, Santos RMD, Aguilar R, Nunes YRF, Fernandes GW (2023). Strong relationships between soil and vegetation in reference ecosystems of a riparian Atlantic rainforest in the upper Doce River watershed, southeastern Brazil. iForest 16: 226-233. - doi: 10.3832/ifor4313-016

Academic Editor

Michele Carbognani

Paper history

Received: Jan 22, 2023
Accepted: Jun 03, 2023

First online: Aug 17, 2023
Publication Date: Aug 31, 2023
Publication Time: 2.50 months

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